- Pinches Recommended
- The Best
- Hare Creek
- Not Very Good
- Ag Commissioner
- Over Comb
- Wondering Why
- Little Dog
- Caltrans PR
- Smarter Cabinets
- Trash Audit
- Benefit Concert
- Yesterday's Catch
- Fake Patriotism
- Young Poets
- Tower View
- Library Events
- My Life
SUPES WANT PINCHES APPOINTED to replace Tom Woodhouse as Third District Supervisor.
The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday agreed unanimously to urge Gov. Jerry Brown to appoint former 3rd District Supervisor John Pinches to serve out the four-year term of Tom Woodhouse, who resigned from the board Jan. 3.
According to the board, thus far there are apparently six people who have put their names forward for the position: Pinches, Holly Madrigal, who lost to Woodhouse; Clay Romero, who also lost to Woodhouse; Willits environmental activist Ellen Drell, Willits school board member Georgeanne Croskey, and Willits schoolteacher John Haschek.
Members of the county board discussed the appointment, agreeing that the decision needed to be unanimous to be effective. First District Supervisor Carre Brown suggested that the board recommend Pinches because he would not be running in the June 2018 election to replace Woodhouse.
“With all due respect” to the slate of other candidates, she said, “they all need to run in two years.”
Brown added Pinches has been elected to that seat three times by the voters.
Fourth District Supervisor Dan Gjerde added that Pinches would be able to do the job right away and focus on the job, not on winning an election in 2018.
Appointing Pinches assures “an open field for those who do want to run,” Gjerde said, and does not give any one of those people an advantage ahead of the others by making them an incumbent.
Fifth District Supervisor Dan Hamburg said he feared the governor’s office would want to appoint a Democrat and someone who would run in the next election, but said he would support Pinches if that’s what his colleagues wanted.
Second District Supervisor John McCowen agreed that recommending Pinches “makes sense,” and is not “a slight to any other candidate.”
On a motion from Hamburg, the board voted unanimously to ask the executive office to draft a letter to the governor endorsing Pinches for the open seat.
But, as noted below, McCowen and Hamburg couldn’t help taking a small jab at Pinches for “those rare occasions when he couldn't resist throwing a bit of a monkey wrench.”
* * *
CEO Carmel Angelo: The Governor’s appointment’s office has no timeline. They said they would appreciate recommendations from anyone who chooses give them one. This is an open process. We have no information from the Governor's office at this time as to who actually has submitted an application. It is my understanding that there are six applicants for this position so far. I have no information on five of them. Only one person has told me they have applied.
Supervisor John McCowen: I'm aware of five people who have applied. Perhaps there are six. Perhaps Mayor Gonzales or City Manager Moore has additional information. Or the press. Georgeanne Croskey, John Haschek, former Willits mayor Holly Madrigal, Ellen Drell, and former supervisor John Pinches.
Willits Weekly’s Mike A’Dair: I believe Clay Romero has applied who ran for supervisor previously.
McCowen: So we have six candidates.
(No public comment.)
Supervisor Carre Brown: I was very pleased to note that former Third District Supervisor John Pinches health is doing great and that he was very interested in coming back. It would only be two years. With all due respect to the other candidates, a couple of whom I do not know, I feel that that they can all run in two years. They can get their name out by applying. I would really like to see the voters be able to weigh in. And they did with Supervisor Pinches, not once, not twice, but three times. I think that weighs heavily. Even though a couple of them may have run for the position, they have not been elected. I feel that Supervisor Pinches would provide the security that the voters of the third District want and deserve, someone that they voted into office who retired for a short time. It's great for the constituents of the Third District. That's who I would support.
Supervisor Dan Gjerde: The advantages of his appointment are that he can focus right on the job. He does not have to focus on running for office. I haven't talked to him about this but I assume he is not interested in running at the end of the term. So he would be focused on just doing the job. I think would be an advantage for both the county and the Third District. And it would create an open field for those who do want to run where no one person would have the advantage of the incumbency.
Supervisor Dan Hamburg: There is no reason to do this unless we are unanimous. There are obstacles in the way of Johnny being appointed. He's not a Democrat. He's not running again. As I understand it the administration would like to appoint a Democrat. And they would like to appoint somebody who would run again. They want a person there that they put there. I think it's either 4-0 or we are wasting our time. If my colleagues are together I will be with them. I will not break the solidarity.
Brown: I know of one recent appointment that the Governor made who was not a Democrat. And it was a nonpartisan office. It was to a state board. I don't know if that's really a criteria.
Hamburg: And I'm not saying it's absolute. But it is a Democratic administration and they are going to lean to a Democrat.
McCowen: I think it makes sense to us to recommend a letter in support of former Supervisor Pinches. I don't think that is a slight to any other candidates. We have the experience in working with Supervisor Pinches and I will be the first to say that he can drive me crazy at times.
Hamburg: I'll second that.
Brown: He was always riding for the brand. [A cowboy metaphor, referring to a cowboy who was loyal to the ranch he worked for. --Ed]
McCowen: Exactly. Except for those rare occasions when he couldn't resist throwing a bit of a monkey wrench. But there's no question that John Pinches is dedicated to the Third District and dedicated to Mendocino County. And the point that he would be totally focused on the job instead of looking over his shoulder at the election is a very important point. I understand that generally the Governor is looking for someone who would seek reelection later on. I think in this particular case given the length of time that the office has been functionally vacant and we need to get someone in there does not require a learning curve. His unquestioned dedication to the District and the County weighs heavily in support of Supervisor Pinches. So the recommended action is for the Executive Office to draft a letter.
Hamburg: I move we direct to a letter be prepared for the chair’s signature endorsing former Supervisor John Pinches to complete the unfinished term of former supervisor Woodhouse.
Second by Brown. Unanimous 4-0 vote.
FORT BRAGG NOTES
by Rex Gressett
One of the things that I get in Fort Bragg a great deal is the deadpan observation that I am not from here. I have lived on the Noyo River for a mere 15 years so it is undeniably true that I am not from here. I regret this shortcoming very much and have done what I can to make amends for it. But as a little silver lining to this outstanding failing once in a while some dim recollection of the way things are done elsewhere surfaces that I hope has relevance for people here.
It might surprise folks here to know that in Brooklyn quite a few people think the Italian Mafia is a fine organization generally devoted the community welfare and indispensable to economic prosperity.
There as here folks are not all that forthcoming to outsiders. I was a westerner there, just as I am and easterner here. But if you have a couple of beers in Bensonhurst or a good laugh on some stoop in Brighton Beech you might hear the theory put forward, generally as a corrective to a suspected or perceived naivety.
You do hear it from time to time. The idea as they state it is that the tendency to economic inequality, and consequent abuse of power are endemic tothe human condition. Bad business practices, monopoly concentration, cheating, unjust foreclosure all inevitably occur in human affairs and more so in heavily populated cities. When they occur in neighborhoods with an established presence the perpetrator receives a meaningful threat or is simply whacked. Justice and community tranquility are instantly restored. Now even the advocates of this system admit that innocent people are killed, addicted, robbed, intimidated etc etc. but on balance the feeling is that the gain to the community outweighs the detriment.
Of course not everyone agrees but the police certainly seem to.
It will not work in Fort Bragg and I am not advocating for it, but if there were overwhelming support for the idea I do know who we could call.
We sure have to do something. We have as a community almost popped a vein getting a new city council and they as their first act of governance appointed for us a mayor who is simply not up the job. Lindy Peters wanted to be mayor, he wanted it so much I could taste it. He is a good guy with no capacity for leadership, no vision and no concept of what leadership might be or mean.
He has tried. He really has. For the first time in recorded history the mayor of the city has an open public meeting every Monday at the inconvenient time of 11:00 am to noon when he heaves a great sigh and shuts it down. His thought was that he would receive those standard complaints about potholes and back flowing sewers. (We certainly have that.) He thought that like his officiations at the football games it would give him another opportunity to smile and shake hands an art at which he excels.
But his willingness to be helpful has stark limitations. When the Patton family announced that they were going to take one of the last remaining and most beautiful pieces of green space (the Hare Creek acreage) and build for themselves a great ugly shopping center the community arose in wrath. The planning commission meeting at which it was assumed that the deal would be rammed down our collective throats had an unprecedented attendance and a wild and unruly democratic screw them feeling, previously unknown to the (at that time) totally sold out Fort Bragg Planning Commission.
At that meeting the unthinkable happened. One member of the commission a member appointed ironically enough by the way gone, but still remembered, dangerously stupid Meg Courtney buckled under the pressure of raw community outrage and failed to cast her vote in the predicted manner.
When she cast this screwball vote, she looked like she was totally lost but whatheheck, with so many people all saying the same thing and loudly, she thought that it all must mean something and so apparently on impulse she caved and the project for the ugliest shopping center that they could with all malice design was kicked into the laps of the city council. It was a near thing, and the first incident in the now accelerating return to self-government that is making city hall nuts.
The opposition to the world’s ugliest strip mall on Fort Bragg’s most beautiful remaining site did not immediately die down. The city council did their dance of deception and declined to put an end to the project as they could have done, proceeding civilly and professionally to defy the people in the teeth of public outrage. They screwed us as quietly as they could while laboring under the disability of having to do it in public meetings. They are counting on short memories.
The developers knew that they could ultimately count on the city council and the development director and went back to the drawing board and then sent the project back to their buddy the city development director. An EIR was required which their buddy Marie Jones the development director and (the exact opposite of everything you would want in a public servant) wrote or got written, and in which interested citizens got to submit comments that no one will ever read. To help things along the developers of this ugliest of strip malls provided money and toned the mall down an invisible bit but made the whole thing a touch uglier to compensate. The project is impending.
Now this project is only one thing. A big thing when you look at the future of the city. A defining thing in the sense of what kind of place that we will become. But only one thing. Being a defining thing and the object of much controversy it was of course brought up in the election.
In the election as much as anyone could tell from their silent sincerity, all the candidates pondered and considered and in principle I think, one and all came out against this development. At least they came out for leadership, openness, transparency and community participation. At least if one would assume from their statements that if the city is going to defy civic sanity as they have done before they would under the new council have to do it openly before the people and the council who would perhaps even listen a bit.
Lindy the newly-appointed mayor did a neat intercept of all of that nonsense. Under pressure from constituents (modesty prevents me from saying who) Lindy was asked to at least find out if the Pattons would consider a deal that under any terms or would entertain a proposal to get paid and allow the property to be used by the public as a place of beauty and a park. Which is what everyone wants.
CHUCK MORSE, the County’s Ag Commissioner is stepping down for unstated reasons. The announcement was made on Tuesday after the Board of Supervisors voted to approve the new pot regulations which put most of the responsibility for administering the County’s extensive and wide ranging new marijuana cultivation rules under the Ag Commissioner. (Perhaps Morse knows something nobody else does…?) Morse told the Board that the Ag Commissioner’s office is staffing up to cover the additional workload by hiring a new clerk and three new biologists. He then introduced Assistant Ag Commissioner Diane Curry who had been officially selected to be interim Ag Commissioner earlier in the day in closed session.
DURING a routine discussion to endorse the appointment of HumCo Supervisor Ryan Sundberg to the Coastal Commission on Tuesday, Supervisor Dan Hamburg Hamburg said he would like to know why Sandberg wanted the appointment. A better question would be: why did Hamburg want to be Supervisor? When he campaigned for the job in the wake of the retirement of J. David Colfax, Hamburg gave no reason other than he was a great guy and he loved the Mendocino Coast. Sandberg wasn’t on hand and no answer was forthcoming. Hamburg voted with his fellow Supervisors to recommend Sundberg anyway.
LITTLE DOG SAYS, “First Dog? A Golden Pit? Those things come in sun colors?”
CALTRANS public relations chief Phil Frisbie, after admitting that Caltrans had been withholding sending official Caltrans press releases to the AVA out of petty retaliation for past slights and jokes about Caltrans, announced Thursday that the AVA was back on Caltrans press release list.
Frisbie declared: “You have been added. Enjoy! (but not too much)”
SEVERAL WILLITS AREA CALLERS, responding to our previous stories about the recent tentative agreement between the County and Solid Waste of Willits, have asked if the agreement really includes an audit. One suggested that the audit go beyond the ordinary financial audit, getting into Solid Waste of Willits’s vehicle repair purchasing and procedures and payroll/personnel systems that the caller said needed to be tightened up.
THE AGREEMENT does in fact call for an audit: Item 5 of the settlement agreement says:
“Contract with an independent contractor per the County's contracts with SWOW, to perform an independent financial audit and/or rate-setting study, with SWOW to pay 50% of the cost. This audit/study will be the basis for determining the County' response to SWOW's request for a Larger Rate Increase."
SPECIAL BENEFIT CONCERT
When: Sunday, February 12, 3 p.m.
Where: Preston Hall, Main St. Mendocino (next to the Presbyterian Church)
Why: To help Brother Michael Matthews meet expenses as he battles leukemia.
Cost: Free admission. A donation of $20 is requested.
Seven fine musicians have volunteered their time to perform beautiful music at the Preston Hall, Mendocino to benefit Brother Michael Matthews, who suffers from leukemia and needs help paying bills. The concert is on February 12 at 3 p.m. A donation is requested.
Help is on the Way for Brother Michael Matthews, who is suffering from leukemia and is strapped for cash to pay his bills. Michael sang for many years in the choir of the Mendocino Presbyterian Church and later with the Redwood Community Chorus. When he can he sings with the St. Michael of All Angels choir in Fort Bragg and plans to return to the Redwood Chorus this spring. This benefit concert is to enable him to heat his house and buy nutritious food to keep up his strength.
Seven excellent musicians from the Mendocino Coast have volunteered their time and talent to perform a joyous afternoon of music at the historic Mendocino Presbyterian Church.
Leading off is Laurel Brunner, accompanied by Jack Leung. She will sing German lieder and romantic French songs. Bass-baritone Randy Knutson follows with English folk songs, and an American folk song in a setting by Aaron Copeland. Clarinetist Eric Van Dyke rounds out the first half with a set of classical solos. Robin Knutson, pianist of the Redwood Chorus, will accompany both men.
The second half of the concert begins with a set of songs played by Brenda Hall on the hammered dulcimer. They include a French Bal Musette waltz, and Those Were the Days My Friend. Closing out this special concert is the A Cappella trio, Cor Unum (One Heart). Bessy Krauss, alto, Jim Blanton, bass, and Andria Richey, soprano will blend their voices to sing Six Nocturnes, by Mozart.
There is no admission charge for this unique musical event. However, we hope everyone who attends will donate $20 or more to help Brother Michael. Sponsor: The Film History Foundation. EIN 94-309-5361
CATCH OF THE DAY, January 26, 2017
JOEL ALVAREZ-LOPEZ, Ukiah. DUI-drugs&alcohol, smuggling drugs or liquor into jail, failure to appear.
MICHAEL DREBAUM, Clearlake/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
ADAN GARCIA-MANCINAS, Talmage. Assault with deadly weapon not a gun, under influence.
WILLIAM LASKEY, Santa Cruz/Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JAMES LOWE, Clearlake/Ukiah. Grand theft.
JEREMIAH LUNA, Ukiah. Drunk in public.
BRANDON MASON, Oroville/Ukiah. Parole violation.
JAMES MORRIS, willits. Parole resentencing.
MARLIN PETERSEN, Ukiah. Probation revocation.
JAMES TEDFORD, Shasta Lake/Ukiah. Failure to appear.
ON LINE COMMENT OF THE DAY
Yes, more of this fake patriotism. Standing for the national anthem is all that is customary and historical. Right wingers only recently added this hold your hand over your heart BS. What a crock. Disappear people. Torture people. Really patriotic. Constantly think up silly new symbols of patriotism. You can’t be a politician unless you wear the silly-ass flag pin on your label. No pin, unpatriotic. You can’t be a politician unless you get down on your knees and swear that you love Jeeesus! Praise the lord! No religious test for office. Who cares about the Constitution?
GREENPEACE STRIKES AGAIN
YOUNG POETS Represent Voices of the Future at Book Publication Party in Mendocino this Sunday
Mendocino, CA – The Mendocino County Office of Education (MCOE) invites the public to attend a free poetry reading at the Gallery Bookshop on Sunday, January 29, from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m. featuring young poets published in local and statewide poetry books: To Build a Bridge and California Poets in the Schools.
“Come discover what today’s young writers think, feel, and imagine about the world at the Gallery Bookshop on the corner of Main and Kasten Streets in Mendocino,” said artist Blake More, Poetry Out Loud Coordinator. RSVP to the event via email at email@example.com or by phone at 707-357-0592.
The importance of self-expression is hard to quantify, according to MCOE Student Events Manager Kimberly Barden. She explained, “But we see the positive impact on students all the time. Blake recently sent us a note from a fifth grade teacher who said, ‘Thank you so much for the Mendocino County poetry anthology, To Build a Bridge. I had one student read his poem in class; he was beaming! Another student had just returned from being out of the country and was having a hard transition when a classmate handed him his anthology. I asked the returning student to read his poem — which I love — to the class. He read the poem twice, and his entire demeanor transformed.’”
More thanked sponsors, which included the Arts Council of Mendocino County, the Community Foundation of Mendocino County, the California Poets in the Schools, the California Arts Council, and the Get Arts in the Schools Program (GASP).
For more information about MCOE’s student events, contact Barden at the Mendocino County Office of Education at (707) 467-5100 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
THIS WEEK @ UKIAH LIBRARY: Poetry, Slime, & Chinese New Year!
We see an evening of fun in your future...
Attention witches, wizards, and excitement-loving muggles! Harry Potter Book Night is coming next Thursday, February 2nd from 4:30-7pm at the Ukiah Library. Dress up in your house colors or any creature from the "Potterverse," take sorting quizzes, and discover your patronus! You'll be able to make your own wand and house crest pins, experiment with creating your own polyjuice potion, and play spell-binding games with opportunities to win magical prizes. Saddle your dragon, hop on a Firebolt or start up your flying car and make your way to the library!
What's ooey-gooey but still positively attractive? Magnetic slime! Bring the kids (ages 7-11, please!) to our first S.T.E.M. event of the year this Friday, January 27th from 3-4:30 p.m. as we learn about measuring, mixing, and magnetism. This is the first in our 3-part "Ooey gooey STEM" series. Children must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.
新年快乐 / Xīnnián kuàilè / Happy New Year!
Celebrate the Lunar New Year at the library with local author Natasha Yim, the Mendocino Book Company and Instilling Goodness & Developing Virtue schools! This Saturday, January 28th starting at 11am we'll ring in the Year of the Rooster with stories, traditional dances and treats. Make a Chinese lantern or learn how to write Chinese calligraphy. Natasha's books will be available for sale. This event is family-friendly and sponsored by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library.
This Saturday, January 28th from 3-4:30 p.m., the Ukiah Library will hold its next installment of the LOBA Poetry Reading Series. Join us for a reading with Maw Shein Win, El Cerrito’s first Poet Laureate! Open mic follows. Teens & adults are invited to share poems in any form or style. Light refreshments will be served. For more information – please contact Melissa at the Ukiah Library: 467-6434 or email@example.com
Love Smash? Test your gaming skills against some foes in a Smash 4 Tournament this Saturday, January 28th from 12-5pm. There will be a $5.00 entry fee with the top three winners taking the payout. Register for the tournament with the Ukiah Library at 707-463-4490. The age limit is 12 and up, and is free of charge for spectators. This event will be facilitated by the Ukiah Valley Friends of the Library. Come and enjoy the fun.
by Tom Cahill
Chapter 5; Part 1 Bexar County Jail.
July 1968 marked the last issue of "Inferno." With it I alienated the last of our supporters, the handful of liberals in the peace movement. The Mexican-American civil service workers who originally supported the paper were long gone because of my continued attacks on LBJ's war on Vietnam, Hey, the war was the bread and butter of my amigos. And theirs were coveted civil service jobs to boot. What else could they do. It would be another year before the best poster of the era was published — "WAR IS GOOD BUSINESS; INVEST YOUR SON" with an illustration of Michelangelo's Pieta (1969). But this was the message I was getting across to my pals some of whom asked me if I supported the Constitution or outright, "Are you a communist, Tom."
At that time San Antonio might have been the most fascist city in the country with four major Air Force bases, two major Army bases and a major Army hospital, not to mention a fair-sized arms industry. For my stand against the war and other issues, I had alienated organized labor, the Democratic Party, the Republican Party, local city government, state government, the national government, the Catholic Church, and, because of the jobs thing, much of the Mexican-American and Black communities. I knew I was setting myself up for martyrdom but I couldn't stop. I was witnessing one huge crime-in-progress for the past five years since the bipartisan public execution of 46-year-old Jack Kennedy whose death still haunts me to this day. One day soon — I pray — the "Oswald Innocence Campaign" of which I'm a founding member will have enough evidence to present to a court of public opinion that a US Marine veteran and father of two was falsely-accused of and executed for … regicide. Such a court could be a Truth and Reconciliation Commission of non government members like the one that helped South Africa transition to democracy
I attempted to start a new underground rag focused on the young people of San Antonio and South Texas fashioned after the psychedelic ones in San Francisco and New York and literally on the back of "Inferno." I created two front covers with no backs. "Inferno" was on one side and the new "Texas Free Press" was on the other. On the cover of "Texas Free Press" was a full-page photo of Jimi Hendrix, who had just appeared in concert in San Antonio. Not outrageous enough, I printed the words "Jimi Hendrix for President." Well that should win me a few friends in high places, I thought. One Black drug dealer contributed $100 cash and an ounce of pot and I never saw him again. Christ, he could have been police for all I knew. But I was able to eat a while longer and pay Mr. Rodrigues some for the room he rented me.
But it was the "Inferno" cover that really finished me off. On this side I published a photo from the Underground Press Association. Four smiling American GIs were hunkered down with the bodies of some dead Vietcong. One GI is holding the severed head of a headless corpse nearby. With the exception of Mary Sue and Tom Flower and a few others in the San Antonio Committee to Stop the War, the liberals came unglued. Most of them accused me of printing Communist propaganda. Today they would call it "fake news." But a year or two later, after the news had circulated around the country about the My Lai Massacre, a story appeared in the "San Francisco Chronicle" attesting to the authenticity of the photograph. Big deal, I was vindicated. But I would suffer for the photo for many years to come with Rape Trauma Syndrome.
Tom Flower told me that it had been "impolitic" of me to have published the photo but he was proud of me for doing so. "The people need to know how ugly the war is and how the young GIs are being encouraged to mutilate bodies by cutting off ears for proof of body counts," said my friend who had served in the Navy, Marines and Coast Guard. He had seen snapshots of American bunkers decorated with the heads of dead Vietnamese soldiers, he told me.
Tom F. was a traveling salesman for a pharmaceutical company and would frequent GI coffee houses in his territory where he heard horror stories of the Nazi-like atrocities committed in the name of "the land of the free and the home of the brave." The coffee houses were legally run by peace activists some of whom were Vietnam vets waiting discharge. The military would try to close them down but they'd spring up in another location in the same town usually near an Army base.
Eventually FBI COINTELPRO (Counter Intelligence Program) got Tom F. fired from his job, "liberated" he called it. Years later, when it was safe to do so, the FBI came under fire for COINTELPRO for it's illegal activities against us in the "New Left." And as the Bureau often did when criticized by Congress, it promised to abolish COINTELPRO and left the hearing with a bigger budget so they could more decently and humanely defend national security. And the saps in Congress bought this sales pitch modeled after Hoover who died in 1973.. Hey, what kind of future is there for a politician who antagonized the American Inquisition?
Hoover was a modern day Machiavelli who could not stoop low enough in not only defending national security but our morals. His crimes ran from murder (of some Black Panthers) to blackmail. "He was a sewer who collected dirt," one federal judge called him after Hoover was safely planted in the ground.
Hoover began spying on John Kennedy while the future president was in the Navy in WW II. Ensign Kennedy, unmarried then, was having an affair with a Swedish journalist who Hoover claimed was a Nazi spy because as a journalist from a neutral country, she once interviewed a top ranking Nazi. "Inga-Binga" is what Jack called her and was heartbroken when his father broke up the romance because of copies of intimate tape recordings Hoover had passed along to him to protect young Jack of course.
Hoover refused to acknowledge the existence of organized crime in America until his boss, Attorney General Robert Kennedy overwhelmed him with evidence such as the famous Appalachia Raid in the 1950s. Evidence indicates the Mafia had turned the tables on Hoover and was blackmailing the portly, effeminate head of the FBI with photos of Hoover at a party in drag. Hoover was a Gay-basher to boot. He wouldn't allow Gays in the FBI other than his number two man and lover, Clyde Tolson. Hoover remains a disgrace to the LGBT community and should be purged starting with renaming the FBI national headquarters in Washington which is still called the "J. Edgar Hoover Building." Clint Eastwood's film didn't scratch the surface in exposing this megalomanic who together with his good buddy Lyndon Johnson did so much damage to the country and the world.
Fall 1968 — I could feel the hot breath of my enemies closing in on me. "Inferno" was extinguished and it was very doubtful it would every rise again like the proverbial Phenix. I retreated to St. Mary's University in San Antonio and had to promise a dean or someone that I would cause no trouble on campus as I matriculated in social work. I had burned my bridge in journalism.
My red MGB had been repossessed but my sister who had left her order was now living in San Antonio and bought the car back for her work as a visiting nurse. Not the best choice of vehicle for this kind of work but I had maintained it well and owed little on it so it was a good buy for her but not for her image. Teresa wasn't on the job long when she was given an ultimatum by a male bureaucrat. Stop demonstrating with other members of the San Antonio Committee to Stop the War in front of the Alamo Saturday afternoons or be terminated. My sister the Sister refused, was fired, but was quickly reinstated when her co-workers and the liberals of the community attacked city hall. She was obviously the good cop and I was the very bad cop. But I was proud of my little sister who sometimes lectures me like a surrogate mom and calls me a "career trouble-maker for the US government."
So I was now living with Teresa and commuting to college on my Honda 305 Superhawk. One day in class, a Bexar County deputy sheriff walked in and whispered something to the professor who quickly looked at me. I definitely stopped breathing and my heart may have even stopped or at least skipped a beat or two or three.
"Can't you wait till after class," the Prof pleaded? I was and remain touched by what I felt like the professor had the same sense of foreboding I had and was trying to buy me a few more minutes of freedom.
"I'm sorry," the deputy responded to the Professor then turned to me, "Please come along with me, Mr. Cahill."
I gathered up my books and followed him out into the hall where I then placed the books on the floor and held out my wrists to be handcuffed.
"Handcuffs aren't necessary, Mr. Cahill, we know you," as if to say we know you are non-violent and won't cause trouble. He then led me like a lamb out the building to a patrol car and to Bexar County Jail. I had no idea why I was being arrested but I soon learned it was for breaking probation.
I had been sentenced to three years probation with restitution of $3,000 for smashing two closed-circuit TV cameras aimed inside a men’s rest room that was one of the causes of a strike at Steves Sash and Door Company. Management claimed the men were organizing in the restroom and the cameras were there to flush them out so to speak. Pun intended. The publicity the firm got even in the local media helped the new union win the strike.
There was no collusion between the union and me, in fact the union put out a joint press release with the owner of the plant that there were no cameras in the rest room. But the lawyer for the union offered to represent me pro bono. Judge Archie Brown dutifully appointed him my public defender and right away Mr. Putnam started pressuring me to plead temporary insanity. As conspiracy conscious as I am, I just now realized the two of them must have made a deal to cut me loose if I pleaded nutso. Hey, I'm slow but I'm not stupid.
Neither me nor my girlfriend at the time liked the idea of a cop-out but I agreed to see a psychiatrist and let him or her decide how competent I was to stand trial. The shrink gave me a clean bill of mental health but this did not please Mr. Putman who kept pressuring me and drawing for me a picture of what it was like behind bars which I had no idea of. I was 31-years-old and had been treated with kid gloves when I was first arrested about a year earlier in the Spring of 1967. My service in the military and time in college did not prepare me for life behind bars where cruel guards and equally sadistic prisoners manipulated other prisoners through the threat of rape, beatings or torture.
Not long after seeing the psychiatrist, I fired Mr. Putman. Not a smart move on my part but one I don't regret. I never distinguished myself in the Air Force defending my country from enemies without. But now I was defending my country from enemies within. I took my oath of service seriously back when I was 17 and I still do. And I like what Abbie Hoffman said shortly before his "mysterious" death.
"In the Sxties, apartheid was driven out of America. We didn't end racism, but we ended legal segregation. We ended the idea that you can send a million soldiers ten thousand miles away to fight a war the people don't support. We ended the idea that women are second class citizens. Now it doesn't matter who sits in the Oval Office. Even George Bush has to talk about child care. the environment … We were young, we were reckless, we were arrogant, silly, headstrong. And we were right. I regret nothing," said Hoffman at Vanderbilt University days before his "mysterious" death at age 52 on April 12, 1989.
But the fact was I did indeed break probation but there are extenuating circumstances that of course would not matter in a court of law. But I'll let Pierre Proudhon, early 19th Century utopian socialist defend me, "Laws … we know what they are worth, spiderwebs for the rich and the mighty, steel chains for the poor and weak, fishing nets in the hands of the government." Not far from where I live now in Cluny, France, is a street named for Monsieur Proudhon and possibly a statue.
Sometime in the Summer of 1968, I read in the "San Antonio Express" about a young man who stabbed and killed another young man at a party. He received three years probation like me but unlike me didn't have to pay any restitution. My probation officer was a retired US Army colonel who I always addressed respectfully as "Col. Fawcett." You could say I was kissing his ass. But my parents raised me to be respectful of everyone. Here in the old folks home where I live Mme. Sandrine Charles is the go-to person for problems. She is easily half my age. Everyone except me calls her "Sandrine." I can't do it. I call her Mme. Charles.
I had been paying about twenty dollars a visit on my restitution and Col. Fawcett would dutifully give me a receipt.
This time when I didn't offer him anything, he asked me, "Tom, do you have any money for your restitution?"
"No Colonel," I replied and told him about the article I had read adding, "I don't think its fair that I got a stiffer sentence than someone who was a killer."
"Well if that's the way you feel, I'll make a notation to that effect." he responded, not warning me about the consequences.
I had been very careful not to say "I refused to pay," expecting him to come down on me with a threat. I left the office thinking I had been let off the hook for the money which meant a lot to me.
So that's what I was being locked up for, missing a twenty dollar payment for my restitution.
"Fresh meat," announced a young Chicano to the rest of the cell. He was leaning against the bars near the door as the guard let me inside. Fear gripped me even more as I looked at the face of the guard. He was smiling.
My awareness was definitely heightened and I was of course very much living in the here and now as so many spiritual leaders like Ram Dass recommend. But I really felt more like a trapped animal about to be devoured.
The cell was so overcrowded, four or five of us had to sleep on mattresses on the floor. There were mostly Blacks and Chicanos. When I had time I counted them. There were an even number of both. About a dozen of each. And I could feel the hostility between the two groups. There were about four Anglos, huddled together in a corner of the cell. We were all waiting for "The Chain" — transportation to prison.
This was October 1968, more than four years before Nixon's fraudulent War on (some) Drugs had filled "correctional" institutions to overflowing so new jails and prisons had to be built, further expanding and politicizing the criminal justice industry. What you Americans put up with.
Just a year and a half earlier after I smashed the closed circuit cameras, I was placed in a totally empty cell in a totally empty wing of Bexar County Jail. I was told it was for my safety and the guards even brought me local newspapers in which I made headlines for the week I was locked up. I was clean-cut with no arrest record, not even a traffic violation. Much later I learned of a William Thomas Cahill who was a Republican governor of New Jersey where I grew up and wondered if the jail authorities thought we were related and wanted me protected. The Governor and I were not related.
And in my research into prisoner rape a decade later I learned of "the gorilla cage" — a cell deliberately overcrowded and racially mixed to make it a tinderbox for a "turning out party" — the sexual assault of a VIP, a very important prisoner. I don't think the term "gorilla cage" is a racial thing exactly. It's more like a reference to a cage in a zoo where young gorillas full of testosterone bend and fling around tires for exercise.
About this same time in the early 1980s, I applied for my FBI files under the Freedom of Information Act. After a reasonable time and the files didn't appear, I sought help from Sen. Alan Cranston (D-CA). The files came soon after and contained three hundred seventy pages of mostly trivia like "Cahill was seen at a peace demonstration in front of the Alamo." But I also found two COINTELPRO memos that indicated to me the Bureau might have set me up for the "turning out party."
In the first one heavily redacted and dated one month before I was brutalized, "FBI COINTELPRO San Antonio pointed out that the net result of these two situations would be to neutralize any effect that CAHILL would have in the anti-Vietnam activities." Meaning, of course, anti-Vietnam war activities.
In the second memo addressed to FBI COINTELPRO in Washington DC, the San Antonio field office of the Bureau reported "Since referenced letter, both CAHILL and his sister, an ex-nun, have subsequently moved from San Antonio and now are reportedly in California. San Antonio feels that this is another excellent accomplishment to curtail two New Leftist activists in the San Antonio Division." This memo was dated one month after my sister and I arrived in San Francisco.
In May 1985, Federal Judge Eugene Lynch, a Reagan appointee, denied my request for the censored portions of these two memos. At the bench, I had a genuine Texas hissy-fit and was strong-armed into a cell in the Federal Building by a Marshal or two. Once in the cell I immediately stopped shouting and lay down on the bunk. I had told the judge earlier of my rape/torture in jail in the presence of the Marshal both of whom tried to talk me into going home quietly. But I had more self-respect than to be swept under a rug. About an hour after I was locked up, the same Marshal again tried to talk me into going home quietly.
"It's getting late Tom, we can't keep you here overnight. We'll have to send you to the City Jail."
"Sir, I'm ready to go anywhere you like but I'm NOT going home," I responded. "Home" then was still a camper on the back of a 1971 pick-up parked in a secret location in San Francisco which I refuse to divulge in case I have to use that parking spot again sometime.
No I won't take a thousand dollars. I won't take ten thousand dollars. Do you know what rents are like in San Francisco today? They're renting walk-in closets for a thousand a month if you can find them. Living in my camper, as uncomfortable as it was at times, gave me great satisfaction and allowed me to save a little money to travel to such places as Fiji, Venice and even Israel where I worked as a volunteer for three months at Kibbutz Gvar Am.
Instead of the San Francisco City/County Jail, I was taken to the psyche ward at San Francisco General Hospital where pleasant and compassionate psych nurses — knowing the worst of my psyche history — also tried to talk me into going home peacefully and quietly.
"Nooo, I like it here. Can I take a shower?," I just as pleasantly answered.
"Mr. Cahill we're filled up and understaffed. Please be considerate." The oldest of the nurses said after I told her I had been well-trained as a patient by both my mother and sister who were career registered nurses and that I would behave for a few nights in their care.
Back and forth we went with the nurses trying to appeal to my compassion. And me telling them of my experience in Bexar County Jail and the US use of Agent Orange in Vietnam in that year that the USA morphed into Nazi Germany. Neither of them had ever heard of Agent Orange so I had to raise their consciousness of this poison that would defoliate thousands of acres of useable land and for perhaps generations to come.
"How would you like to see Golden Gate Park disappear for the rest of your lifetime and the lifetime of your children?" I asked.
It was dark by now and I was exhausted emotionally as well as physically.
"Okay, I'll go home. Hire me a cab," I demanded.
"Mr. Cahill, we can give you a bus token but we can't pay for a cab. Our budget is too small as is," the older nurse said.
The argument went on for another hour, with me bringing up every sordid detail of the JFK assassination and other atrocious acts of the gangsters in government.
Finally I surrendered. "God forbid I collapse the City's economy," I said as I got up to leave.
Instead of being treated for Rape Trauma Syndrome, I was being treated like a pest. For any rape victim it's necessary for them to be "heard, understood, believed, and accepted." But as a victim myself I obviously knew more about the therapy than these two professionals.